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September 15, 2013 at 8:01 AM
There has been much said and written about the environment in downtown Seattle lately. [“Council, stakeholders discuss downtown crime,” NW Thursday, Sept. 5.]
I have been in the area of Pine and Pike at various times making deliveries, and I have seen so many things I consider disturbing and unsafe.
I am not trained to notice, but I have no problem seeing how it must look to visitors and guests in our city. I see people moving to the other side of the street to avoid contact with someone yelling, panhandling or being a perceived threat to their safety.
I have been in the back of my truck and approached by individuals looking for “free samples,” seen others arguing on the sidewalk and close to fighting and other obvious activities that should not be tolerated.
This happens in the early morning, midday and afternoon, and there has been very little police presence to stop these activities. Why do we have to have a major crime to bring this to a stop?
If I were visiting another city as a tourist and saw this, I would not only leave that area, but also tell others what I saw and encourage them to stay away.
Alan Greear, Maple Valley
September 9, 2013 at 6:58 PM
I read your editorial regarding downtown crime. [“Downtown Seattle feels unsafe. Fix it,” Opinion, Sept. 8.]
Statistics are a useless measure. Downtown crime, the filth, a total open-air drug market, prostitution … go walk at night between First Avenue and Third Avenue, between Union and Virginia. It’s a disaster.
Welcome to my world: I reside in the middle of it.
Mayor Mike McGinn’s idea of more cops in cars downtown? Useless. Put a dozen beat and bicycle cops down here and let them do their jobs without the constant fear of the Office of Professional Accountability and Department of Justice breathing down their necks.
It’s not just a slight statistical tick up in crime, it’s a war zone down here.
Detective Mac Gordon, Seattle Police Department, Seattle
Clean up the streets
Regarding the editorial on downtown Seattle, I couldn’t agree with you more in one major regard: Now is the time fix this. I do not agree that the solution is to throw more money at social programs.
Many people simply need to take responsibility for their lives. Perhaps we should have some of these folks participate in mandatory cleanup programs to teach them the value of putting in a solid day’s work; clean up vandalism, pick up litter and so on.
Seattle is way too tolerant of many things; vagrancy, letting trash build up, tagging, public urination and public-drug use. Although I am not necessarily a fan of the man, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York did amazing things in his city and made New York one of the largest feel-safe cities.
Why reinvent the wheel? Call on other city officials who have successfully turned their cities around. We enjoy the symphony, downtown restaurants and other places of interest downtown, but unless things start turning around, we may take our interest.
Has anyone noticed how clean and safe Bellevue seems these days? What’s their secret? I believe the mayoral candidate who embraces and acts on cleaning up Seattle’s streets will get the vote.
John Hargarten, Seattle
September 9, 2013 at 6:36 PM
Pot should be legal everywhere
Dealing with marijuana, currently a federally illegal, controlled substance, has always been a serious struggle for our Congress as well as local governments. [“Coming soon: 334 pot stores in state,” page one, Sept. 5.]
I want our members of Congress to finally consider decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana and its derivatives, treating it the same way alcohol has been since the repeal of the 22nd Amendment.
There is no doubt that there are safety and health concerns that must be addressed. But let’s put it this way, alcohol was, is, and will be dangerous when consumed in an excessive and irresponsible manner. It is a regulated substance that can be consumed and even studied for medical-treatment purposes.
Marijuana has the discoverable potential to save many lives, if fully legalized and treated the same way alcohol and other substances currently are.
Why can’t the federal government make up its mind and pave the way for sensible, science- and society-centered drug law reforms?
Erick Dietrich, Walla Walla
August 29, 2013 at 6:26 AM
Former New Yorker Stuart Marvin’s pointed observations about Seattle’s grizzly downtown and his recommended solutions are right-on. [“Downtown crime shocks New Yorker,” NW Wednesday, Aug. 28.]
But as someone whose migration pattern is the reverse of his — after 35 years in Western Washington, I moved to metropolitan New York — I know why his solutions won’t happen.
In New York, citizens and taxpayers are protected from rabble-rousers and criminals. In Seattle, it’s the reverse: rabble-rousers, who are often petty criminals, are coddled and protected by city officials.
[City Attorney] Peter Holmes’ unwillingness to act against repeat offenders is an example. Ditto the mere presence of Nickelsville, the illegal homeless camp that’s a stick in Seattle’s eye with only empty City Council rhetoric directed against it.
New Yorkers wouldn’t tolerate either for an instant. I saw two NYPD officers take a paper sack containing a bottle of Jack Daniels from a man and pour it into the gutter, then he was hauled off.
In Seattle, go after scofflaws or impose legal sanctions against unlawful encampments and you incur the wrath of nonprofits and bureaucratic sycophants.
You’re then checked by official timidity, political correctness and the fear of hurting someone’s feelings, none of which matter to a New Yorker.
Scott St. Clair, Clifton, N.J.
August 28, 2013 at 7:04 PM
Where’s the science?
Teens are used to adults making statements about marijuana that are not true. This leads them to reject any advice from adults that might be true. [“Guest: What to tell your child about marijuana,” Health & Fitness, Aug. 25.]
The Times should require a guest writer like Dan Labriola to provide a source for his dubious assertions of “facts” about marijuana.
I don’t believe he can provide a single scientific, random, controlled, double-blind study that backs up his assertions. Put this stuff on the Opinion page, where it belongs.
Kurt Johnson, Kirkland
August 18, 2013 at 7:53 AM
Drug crimes rampant
Major crimes versus violent crimes — what’s the difference? [“Downtown getting safer? Not according to numbers,” page one, Aug. 15.]
In Seattle, it’s the sleaze factor that is so disgusting in the Westlake area. There are no police around and nothing but drug transactions going on, right in the heart of the city. The mayor can say all he wants, but he’s wrong.
I’m a Seattle native, but feel much safer in Manhattan than I do in Seattle. I live on the Eastside, but would like to go downtown more often.
The last time my husband and I went to Westlake, we saw three drug transactions at 10 a.m. I’m embarrassed by the city and how the tourists must view it.
And yet the Police Department can spare the officers to hand out Doritos at Hempfest?
Katie Chace, Bellevue
Don’t blame Mayor McGinn
There are so many letters written demanding the mayor do something about violence downtown. These are written by good people who should know better. [“Northwest Voices: Terror for bus drivers,” Opinion, Aug. 16.]
As someone who has been involved in Seattle business and crime issues for the last 35 years, I know that the mayor can do very little to deal with an immediate outburst of crime downtown, other than throw more police at it.
Our downtown violence cannot be turned on or off like a faucet.
How many downtown violence waves and violence task forces have there been? How many nonprofits have been funded to deal with this issue?
Since we seem to be attacking the mayor, how about City Council public safety chairs? What about the president of the Downtown Seattle Association, or our various former police chiefs? Just like the mayor, they are good people who have tried to work on various solutions. Some have worked and some have not.
You cannot hold one person responsible for such a complex problem. Let’s continue working on the effective things that make a difference.
Eugene Wasserman, Seattle
We need crime prevention, not statistics
Mayor Mike McGinn can’t fool commuters and business owners by disingenuously hiding behind the Seattle Police Department’s baked numbers that suggest a drop in violent crime in the downtown business core.
Every day, thousands of commuters, tourists, shoppers and business owners witness lawlessness, bullying and drug-dealing on downtown streets.
Ask anyone how many police officers they see during the morning and afternoon rush hours, and the answer would be: “Few, and rarely.”
If the mayor intends to defend the people and business interests he is sworn to serve, he needs to do only one thing: Get on the phone every morning and afternoon with West Precinct police Capt. Jim Dermody to demand that the Police Department’s assets are actually in place.
We need crime prevention, not crime statistics.
Guy Detrick, Kirkland
June 15, 2013 at 7:02 AM
Help, don’t punish
The article describing the increase of heroin-overdose deaths draws a logical conclusion about the policies of our federal and state governments [“Heroin use spikes in under-30 age group,” page one, June 12]. By removing controlled dosages of prescriptions we have driven people to the street.
In 2000, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute presented the conference “Preventing Heroin Overdose.” It highlighted work done in Western Europe and Canada to resolve this problem. The United States has gone backward.
The most knowledgeable countries removed drug use and addiction from the legal system and placed it into the public-health system, thereby working on solutions instead of punishment and retribution.
Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and other countries have come close to eliminating deaths from heroin by utilizing education, methods of assistance, safe-injection rooms, treatment availability, available naloxone, and most important, no more threats of arrest and prison or jail. They have dramatically reduced their medical-care costs related to drug use, mainly heroin.
It’s time for United States to move forward. Washington should lead the way. We have the knowledge and resources available.
Vicki Decker, Bothell
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